We are lost in the sea of CfE

16th March 2012 at 00:00

In thousands of homes across the land, computers hum and clatter as teachers frantically flesh out the nebulous ideas of Curriculum for Excellence. No one can complain as we are all involved and far too busy working, mostly in isolation.

The idea of CfE is probably a good one - or would be if the aims were clearly thought out, resourced and funded properly. Unfortunately they aren't. Implementation coincides with severe financial cutbacks, changes in pension arrangements, pay freezes, no career structure and the loss of most principal teacher posts.

All class teachers want the best for their pupils and for this reason alone teachers will do their utmost to be ready in time. Most were already working well in excess of the agreed 35-hour working week and this will surely increase.

There are many experts who should be listened to more. One described what was being developed as "the most dangerous experiment ever to be done in Scottish schools". There is little evidence of success, but there is of failure; objective-based education was tried in both South Africa and in New Zealand before being rejected.

In the past, many of our pupils did show responsibility for their learning, they could read and discuss, follow instructions before writing notes. Now many are not expected to do this, they are smothered in cut-out sheets missing a few words, endure endless PowerPoints and produce so many posters that schools may never need re-decorating. Already I have seen flattering assessments based on the new work in S1 and 2 leading to pupils struggling in S3.

We have become lost in a sea of bureaucracy, abbreviations and terms designed to confuse: CARG, QDO,QDC, QDM, entitlements, Es and Os, NARs and NABs, engaging and populating, capacities and journeys; the list goes on. How many of these are really understood?

The CfE entitlement of "a broad general education to the end of S3" for all pupils hardly fits with the news that many schools are still specialising at the end of S2. This might be to hide the contraction in subjects offered, rather than the broadening that CfE suggests. Reduction is necessary, as the new courses are meant to have 160 minutes per subject rather than the existing 120 hours.

If this all sounds a scramble then it probably is. This is a total chaotic mess that we are trying to sort out.

Science teacher with many years' experience.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today